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“ETFE Foil Truly Can Shape-Shift & Cater to Every Futuristic Design Need”
Phil Schneider, Vector Foiltec Group
An exclusive interview with Phil Schneider Head – Sales EMEA, Vector Foiltec Group sharing about their journey, the products they offer in the market, the benefits of their products, and so on…
Please brief us on the history and objective behind the formation of your company.
With transparent roofs and façades made of Texlon® ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), the company Vector Foiltec has made a major contribution to setting new standards in recent architecture. As the world market leader in architectural foil construction and inventor of the Texlon® ETFE system, we have already completed over 1,700 international projects. Our system shapes stadia constructions, atria, shopping centres, zoos and garden parks, public buildings, swimming pools, schools, and universities all over the world.
Please highlight briefly your products.
Our technology of fluoropolymer foils can be processed in a variety of ways. Whether as a one-layer or multilayer system, Texlon® ETFE stands for high-performance building envelopes with an outstanding eco-balance. We weld multiple layers of foil together to form an air-tight chamber, which we then fix on top of a steel, wood, or cable structure. We manage to cater to all different kinds of climatic needs, design intentions, and structural requirements.
Could you please tell us about a few of your prestigious projects and the innovations you made?
We are a record holder in many countries, the Water Cube in Beijing (Olympic Swimming Center) for example features 100,000 m² of ETFE and is the largest ETFE structure in the world. We pride ourselves on having the longest ETFE roof in Malaysia and even built a house on wheels, called “The Shed” in New York.
So far, we delivered our ETFE foil system to more than 100 countries, the latest country in which we built our first ETFE project in India.
What advantages does Vector Foiltec have over its competitors?
Vector Foiltec invented and pioneered the use of Texlon® ETFE over 40 years ago and is the only company in the world whose core business is ETFE cladding. Our team of experts has been responsible for most major technological innovations in the field. Through extensive investment in Research and development and a commitment to superior quality and performance, we continue to be the global market leader. With a total of 18 branches and 2 production sites, we are represented in countries such as Australia, the USA, China, and the United Kingdom, combining local knowledge with global expertise.
Could you please tell us about your manufacturing facility and capacity?
We are able to deliver worldwide, be it smaller or bigger projects. We can deliver fast-track projects as well, we can draw from the capacity of two production sites, one in Germany and one in China.
Why should one choose the ETFE cladding system? What are its benefits?
ETFE offers extreme design flexibility and advantageous fire characteristics as well as acoustic benefits and a minimal need for maintenance.
It is suitable for LEED, BREAM, and DGNB certifications, and perfectly suitable for every climate and environment, the Texlon® ETFE system allows design flexibility for iconic and sustainable architecture.
Where do you see the future of ETFE cladding systems?
The Texlon ETFE foil system offers a huge benefit when it comes to sustainability and design. We are able to decrease the amount of needed steel by up to 7 times and manage to reduce the embodied energy of the building. ETFE foil truly can shape-shift and cater to every futuristic design need!
You are the head of sales for the European and Middle East market. What are the differences and similarities you see between both markets?
We can see a difference when it comes to the sizes of ETFE projects. We mainly cover “smaller” atria in Europe with 500 to 2,000 m² whereas in the Middle East, we are dealing with different dimensions. We built botanical gardens for example fully covered and air-conditioned shopping mall with 74,500 m² of ETFE in Kuwait, which the citizens use to spend their spare time with family gatherings or even sports activities. In both regions, we create tempered spaces but with different goals: Our clients in Europe want shelter from the cold whereas our Middle Eastern clients seek shelter from the heat. Quite similar but still different.
Sustainability in recent years has become one of the major focuses in the building industry. What does sustainability mean to you and how sustainable your products are?
Our Texlon® ETFE system has already proven itself in all climatic zones of the globe and is one of the most powerful and sustainable technologies for transparent roof and façade systems. It is significantly less energy required to produce our foil elements than for the production of comparable technologies, in addition, they are 100% recyclable, translucent, and stain-resistant. Our system improves the carbon footprint of a building remarkably: In 2011, we were the first company in the world to receive an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for transparent cladding.
What are your plans for the next 4-5 years? Do you have any geographical expansion plans or plans to include new products in your portfolio?
Our biggest topic is sustainability, and we see a huge demand for resource-saving building materials. Be it new buildings or renovations, our clients focus on lightweight, durable solutions with a low impact on their buildings and the environment.
Phil Schneider, Vector Foiltec Group
Head - Sales EMEA
Phil Schneider is Head of Sales EMEA and responsible for the implementation of global sales processes within the Vector Foiltec Group. With a view on technology and engineering, but also on processes, overall solutions, and the clients’ view, he was a vital part of very successful large-scale Texlon® ETFE projects, like King Abdullah Gardens in Riyadh, Al-Rahba Park in Abu Dhabi, and the Verona & Cologne Fairs. The combination of his understanding of the ETFE systems from a technical point of view, a Master of Engineering degree in light-weight structures, and his knowledge about the international markets, including a vast amount of time spent in South- East-Asia, gives him a great opportunity to translate German engineering into ETFE solutions for a global market.